Tuesday, 9 December 2014

My Telegraph piece: 11 things you'll only understand when back at uni after a year abroad.

Super excited to share my first piece as a student writer for the Telegraph! Hope you all like it. And post-year-abroaders... do ya feel me? #postyearabroadproblems 

Pic from the Telegraph
Whether you filled your days studying, working or – as is often the case – doing very little, living it up abroad for a year, or even just a semester, was always going to be a good decision. Coming back to the uni bubble afterwards, however, can bring both joy and pain, and there are certain things you’ll only understand upon your return…

1. Timehop makes you die inside every single day 

Yet at the same time you can’t bear to delete it. Oh, look how much fun I was having this time last year. I’d much rather be sitting in the library writing an essay. No, really! These are definitely not tears. It’s just, um, winter hay fever.

2. After months of travelling, you get twitchy having to stay in one city for weeks on end

As much as you may love your university city, nothing compares to the amount of travelling you did on what was essentially an extended holiday. And the chances are you know your surrogate home country better than you do the UK, despite having lived here for two decades.

3. You realise German Christmas markets in the UK aren’t actually that German…

French bread isn’t particularly French, and pizza in Britain might as well be a completely different food to the authentic Italian. Jamie’s Italian will never hold the same charm as before.

4. Baked beans, scones and fish & chips have never tasted so good

(Not together though. That would be weird.) The majority of the world outside the UK may think our cuisine is horrendous, but you know better. There’s nothing like a stint abroad to make you appreciate the manna from heaven that is a proper roast dinner.

5. Everyone assumes you’re fluent in a foreign language

You know you’ll never be 100 per cent fluent as there are TOO. MANY. WORDS! “But you lived there, you must be fluent,” they say. Rather than explain that you, in fact, spent most of your time hanging out with other Brits and everyone abroad speaks English, it’s simpler to just smile and nod. They don’t need to know the truth.

6. The joy at shops being open on Sundays still hasn’t worn off

Praise the Lord for no longer having to make sure you have enough food for Sunday and Monday morning. (We’ve all been caught out by that cheeky Monday breakfast before, right?) Oh, and good riddance, lunchtime closing hour. Or, if you were in France, three hours.

7. Not having to specifically ask for milk when ordering tea brings a smile to your face

And no longer receiving perplexed looks upon making your cuppa. “Your tea looks like weird chocolate milk,” they said. “Your tea is wrong,” we thought in response. Oh, the sweet sweet joy at not having to specify ‘black tea’ any more. When we say tea, we know what we mean. Finally, you’re back amongst civilised folk who understand the importance, power and majesty of a cup of tea.

8. Alcohol is once again expensive

Remember when beer was cheaper than water and a bottle of Prosecco cost 3 Euros? Those were the days.

9. Tap water is a thing

On the subject of water, as a poor student you will never again take for granted the availability of free water when eating out. What a treat to no longer receive a puzzled look and a shot glass of warm water upon asking abroad. Because that’s really going to hydrate me.

10. You’re not special any more

We could blame all our strange ways on being British (“Oh, well eating two breakfasts is actually totally normal in the UK”), and it was fun being the foreign, interesting, exotic one. Well, exotic as you can be coming from Leicestershire.

11. It’s back to real money

Euros = basically Monopoly money, right? And oh, the treat that is once again being able to pay by card EVERYWHERE!

So what do you think? Make my day and check out my piece on the Telegraph here!


  1. interesting post, i have never been studying abroad, but i love travelling and i´m planning going at university abroad...after i finish my high school :)


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